Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ryan Anderson Shining Bright for Magic

Ryan Anderson has been a consistent contributor for the Orlando Magic. This year must be especially tough to remain hungry. Dwight Howard holds a key to the future direction of the franchise and there's no denying that it's a distraction. Ryan Anderson is still hungry and he showed it in last nights game.

The game against the Sixers appeared out of reach. Down by more than 10 with not a whole lot of time to attempt to change it, SVG had the bench out on the floor. Ryan Anderson was the catalyst to a comeback attempt (though it wasn't successful, it was admirable). Ryan Anderson played about 10 minutes less than Dwight Howard, but had nine more boards to finish with 20. Ryan Anderson is just a shooter right? Wrong!

Ryan Anderson is a complete player and someone who doesn't give up. When he's out there, he's giving it his all. There's no point in admitting defeat. Even when it appears you are defeated, there's still some progress you can make on the floor. You can try new moves, try and be active in other aspects of the game and see what does and doesn't work.

Ryan Anderson is a true professional. The future direction of the Magic remains unclear, but his play shows little to no signs of slowing down. He's maintaining solid play. The Magic didn't offer Ryan Anderson an extension, which, considering the level of uncertainty the team has, makes sense. Considering how he's played this season, it would make sense to keep him around.

Ryan Anderson makes winning plays and his attitude is fabulous. He's playing his way into a nice payday. What's the key to Ryan Anderson's continual improvement? He needs to do what he's not know for even more.

Rebound, defend, hustle for loose balls and even passing to teammates for easy buckets. While Ryan Anderson isn't the most complete player, he's got a decent nose for the game. He can continue being put in these situations where he's asked to do other things and adapt into that role. He's decent at everything, just not yet good at everything. He's got the skill and IQ to be good at everything.

Ryan Anderson is one of the better workers in the NBA. He's willing to learn and clearly wants to win. Whether he eventually wins on the floor or not, Ryan Anderson is a winner in my book!

Monday, January 30, 2012

NBA Games to Watch, Week 6

This season never stops. Go, go and keep going! I missed some of last weeks game while traveling, but I'm ready for a full week of games now! This is what to watch and all times are eastern!

Monday at 10:30 PM, the Clippers play the Thunder. LAC is rounding into shape and this is another test for them. OKC's job is to continue showing what they've been building for years. Kevin Durant propels the Thunder late for the W.

Tuesday at 8:00 PM, the Nuggets and Grizzlies fight for supremacy. Both teams have been of late, but the Grizzlies (when fully healthy) are better. Compared to the stretch coming later this week, Denver will look at this as a game to win. The Nuggets will do so, but it'll be close

Wednesday at 7:00 PM, the Sixers battle the Bulls. This comes down to which point guard plays better. Derrick Rose vs. Jrue Holiday. Rose is a star, clearly elite. Doug Collins is high on Jrue Holiday, but the young guard has only shown flashes of matching Rose. Holiday can prove he's close to Rose's greatness and lead the Sixers to victory. Holiday will play well and the Sixers will surprise Chicago.

Thursday at 10:30 PM, the Clippers look to steal the Nuggets treasure. The Clippers need to prove the can execute. This is another chance for the Clippers to prove they can play when it counts. Denver isn't going to allow them to steal the game either. Denver is rough and deep, it won't be easy. Chris Paul can make things easier and he will help the Clippers win tonight.

Friday at 10:30 PM, the Lakers and Nuggets square off. Denver is facing an incredibly tough stretch here. They're going to slug through parts of it and this could be a let down game. The Lakers will take advantage of the Nuggets tired legs and win.

Saturday at 10:00 PM, the Nuggets finish a back-to-back-to-back against the Blazers. After lossing a tough one to Los Angeles, Denver will recover strongly. While Portland is another super formidable opponent, the Nuggets will utilize their bench and fight through all the games they play. Denver edges out Portland.

Sunday at 12:00 PM, the Grizzlies look to stop the Celtics. Boston is rounding into shape and the Grizz are continuing to find their identity despite injuries. Boston is really starting to show signs of improvement and they will continue to. Boston wins.

Milani Malik Interview Video

Milani Malik is an incredible basketball player and person. I got the chance to interview her and I'm lucky to have had the chance. Checkout the interview (it's a little longer than 18 minutes):

Follow Milani on Twitter and like Milani on Facebook! Above all, continue to support Milani Malik on her journey.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

DeSagana Diop Shoots Amazing Free Throw

DeSagana Diop is so good at free throws, his shots never touch anything! DeSagana Diop is undoubtedly the best free thrower of all time:

Next time you're shooting a free throw, try your best to be like DeSagana Diop. Trust me, the jokes are actually praise! Maholo, The Hoop Scene!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

NBA Store: Newfound Glory

The new NBA Store opened on fifth avenue earlier this year. I'd been to the old NBA store. It was awesome, large and full of NBA wonder, from the past and present. This new NBA store is similar, but on a smaller scale. It features everything you could want from todays NBA. Ricky Rubio uniforms, NBA notebooks and shoes you can pay for with a body organ I'm sure. It's cool, but what's the new NBA store missing?

The historic values of the old NBA. Gone are the fabulous pictures of past players and the feeling that the NBA remembers and values its past. While that's undoubtedly due to the smaller location, it's still a huge hole. After experiencing the old store, it's clear that this location isn't big enough to hold all the amazingness. Surely the NBA saw the chance to get another prime location as something to jump on. That's understandable. The problem is these exclusions further obscure the greatness of past players.

Young fans hear less about the Larry Bird's, Dominique Wilkins and George Mikan's of the world. That's near as sad as kids throwing away morals and manners. These guys were amazing, both on and off the court. The NBA Store is obligated to give these guys attention. Maybe this location can't fit them in. Eventually and hopefully they'll move into a larger location.

When that happens, I expect past legends to get the space they deserve. As much as I love today's NBA, the past NBA made the present game possible. You can argue about which players are better or worse, but everything starts somewhere. The NBA Store shouldn't only be an economic environment, it should be a look into the NBA. How did it get this popular? Who where the household names of the NBA in the 60's?

The new NBA store is worth checking out. Enjoy your stay, buy whatever you need, or do what it takes to bring out the brilliance in that experience. After you visit the NBA Store, find an NBA legend whose name you didn't hear in the store and familiarize yourself with him. While the NBA Store is an enriching place on today's NBA, it fails to bring light to what initially powered the league.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Statement from SNY on the Cancellation of the 2012 SNY Invitational

After being notified yesterday, two days prior to the start of the SNY Invitational, that Long Island University was no longer available to us, we worked through the night to come up with what we believed was a viable plan to move the event to St Raymond High School for Boys.  Unfortunately, as the details related to the large expected crowd and complex logistics became more clear, it was determined that St. Raymond’s facility could not adequately accommodate an event of this size on 24 hours notice.

While we regret the outcome – we are committed to making sure the four schools and all of the deserving Tri-State Area students receive their promised funding and scholarships.  We are disappointed this year’s tournament will not take place and apologize for any inconvenience this causes the teams, their fans and our corporate partners.  We are committed to the SNY Invitational maintaining its position in the community and it is our intent to pick up where we left off in 2013.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Jason Smith Rejects KD, Video

Jason Smith doesn't usually make any highlight reels. Neither does defense, when compared to rim rattling dunks. Here we get the best of both worlds. Jason Smith doesn't allow Mr. Durant to have his way and he gets his junk outta there:

Grazie, The Hoop Scene!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Andrew Bynum: All-Star in 2012? Video

Andrew Bynum has looked great this season. But is Andrew Bynum worthy of playing in Orlando this February at the All-Star game?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yao Ming Painted by Hong Yi Using a Basketball

Yao Ming painted with just a basketball? Yep. Hong Yi did an amazing job depicting Yao Ming with just that. Subscribe to her channel! More awesome videos to come I'm sure!

Thanks, Gizmodo!

Flip Saunders Fired

Flip Saunders has been fired, per Woj. Someone had to be held accountable in Washington (as I said before). After going 2-15, the Wizards decided enough was enough. High five for them! Eventually, something needed to happen. While losing is how teams grow and mature, taking such beatings is just disgraceful.

Randy Wittman, assistant coach, has been talked to about being the interim coach, but nothing has been decided. Who's in favor of Sam Cassell taking over?! That would be fun to watch.

Flip Saunders did what he could. This team really didn't listen too much, they need a coach who can appeal better to players. Flip Saunders is a fabulous coach, but he fits better with a team of older players (think about when Flip Saunders coached the Pistons). Younger players need more direction, but also don't communicate as well as older players .

Whoever the Wizards bring in, he should communicate amazingly. Similar to Doc Rivers, or Mark Jackson. People who appeal based on experience, not just based on knowledge for the game. A coach who's been there and done that would be awesome. Jerry Sloan comes to mind.

What's your reaction to the firing of Flip Saunders? Too late, about time? Who should replace Flip Saunders! Good luck to Flip Saunders in his future endeavors!

Flint Star: Review

Flint Star is a documentary that details the basketball brilliance that comes from Flint, Michigan. Flint Star is real. Flint Star is amazing. Marcus Davenport, a veteran public school teacher and independent filmaker, outdid himself. Flint has produced great pro players including Glen Rice, Mateen Cleaves and Eddie Robinson (to name a few). Living in Flint is tough. It's a high crime area, without a ton to do. For many players, it's either play basketball, or get involved in crime.

Luckily, basketball has been a savior for many Flintstones. Cleaves, Robinson and many others give perspective about how they came up, how Flint basketball was and is and a whole lot more. Their perspectives were great themselves, but what was so amazing about this film was the delivery. It's as if I sat at a dinner table in Flint for an hour and a half, without the awkwardness. I was in Flint without truly being there. Everyone mostly shoots the breeze about the game. It's not some uptight question and answer session. This is a guy, a camera and life happening around him.

Some may say Flint Star doesn't have any glits, glamour or effects. Does real life have that? No. This film is for people that want true, historical perspective. It's not for people who want some Hollywood film that gets away from reality. Flint Star is like taking a trip to your local YMCA basketball court. It stays true to reality and gives you ideas of the talent.

Need any additional confidence in Flint Star? Read TrueHoop's perspective on it. Try and get a copy (appears they've sold out!).

I came away from this film enlightened and moved. Flint is a basketball mecca. It's up there with Seattle, New York and Chicago. As basketball enthusiasts, we must realize this. Flint Star proves that what you hear on an NBA broadcast isn't the full story. Rarely is the amount of talent coming from Flint mentioned on such a platform. Flint Star provides prospective, defies what I knew and is a must see!

Monday, January 23, 2012

NBA Games to Watch, Week 5

This season is my favorite. In my lifetime as a fan, it's never come at me so quickly, with the same intensity. It's the acceleration that makes it that much better. There's always decent games on. It's awesome! What's worth watching this week (all times are eastern)?

Monday at 7:30 PM, the Magic look to dismantle the Celtics. Two teams who need to show they can compete. Boston has started shaky, but Danny Ainge still has confidence they can come out of it. That trust is unrivaled and Boston still has plenty of time to show they're formidable. They'll play much better than they have. Conditioning, camaraderie and rhythm are still forming.

The Magic record looks better than the Celtics, but it's far from proving anything. The Magic really are nothing without Dwight and that's the simple truth. They aren't a deep team. They have no one two punch. It's only Howard and whoever happens to get it going.

Brandon Bass leaving may have hurt the Magic more than initially thought. While Bass isn't an every night scoring punch, he's more consistent than most of the Magic players. His mid-range and post game are something the Magic need more of. Orlando needs someone else who can get 20 on any given night. Bass was the closest one to that.

Boston wins this, they'll start to get on a roll.

Tuesday at 7:00 PM, Orlando takes on Indiana. The Magic two nights in a row? Yep! These are important games. Roy Hibbert vs. Dwight Howard will be fun. Key for the Pacers is to keep Hibbert out of foul trouble, allowing him to defend Howard and be a scoring threat. Indiana is the better team. They have more of a team and they're deep. Seeing as this the end of a back-to-back for Orlando, the Pacers will win.

Wednesday at 8:00 PM, Indiana looks to dehorn the Bulls. Pacers again now?? Pacers have two important games. Darren Collison vs. Derrick Rose is the key to the game. Whoever dominates that matchup, that team will win. Derrick Rose outplays Collison, Bulls win.

Thursday at 10:30 PM, the Clippers play the Grizzlies. Can the Clippers and Grizzlies do anything in the playoffs? Unclear so far, besides getting there. We'll see how these two play. CP3 vs. Mike Conley will be a strong indicator of who wins. Energy guys like Tony Allen and Mo Williams will be the second factor. Clippers come out with more energy and win.

Friday at 7:30 PM, the Pacers battle the Celtics. Pacers have an excruciatingly important week. This test will be strong. Can they sustain their level of play? They can. While they are playing a ton of key match-ups, they are a young team that can bounce back (though having Jeff Foster injured hurts). Boston is continuing to round into shape, they'll be ready for this game. Celtics win, though it'll be close.

Saturday at 8:00 PM, the Rockets battle the Big Apple and the Knicks. The Knicks are tough to watch, but the Rockets are refreshing. That being said, these two teams could compete on the same level. Rockets win because they play on both ends.

Sunday at 3:30 PM, the Bulls look to cool the Heat. Fun game this will be! D. Rose, LBJ, Bosh, the whole gang. Hopefully Wade can return. Can the Heat stop Derrick Rose? That's the #1 factor. So long as Rose gets his, the only hope for Miami would be the rest of the Bulls not balling. Bulls take this. This will be a close, competitive and defense heavy game.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Knicks Continue to Confuse

Knicks basketball still isn't up to New York standards. The Knicks have started the season 6-10 and that record is indicative of their level of play. Defense has been nonexistent, the offense isn't too pretty and the construction of team (from the coach to the players) isn't right.

Mike D'Antoni coaching tells a front office a ton about how to build a team. D'Antoni is known for his fast paced, offense-heavy teams. His system is predicated on ball movement, three point shooting and scoring quickly. While defense does matter, it's second on the priority list. This isn't Mike Brown, Gregg Popovich, or Doc Rivers. D'Antoni had huge success leading Steve Nash and the Suns. That success happened due to Steve Nash keeping the ball moving, three's falling and running being a constant.

The Knicks are a team with ball stoppers and three point shooters. Carmelo and Amar'e are the ball stoppers. They need the ball in their hands to do anything. They inhibit D'Antoni's system. The Knicks don't have a passing guard. Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert, and Mike Bibby just fill the PG minutes (Shumpert is not really a PG).

What pieces fit for the Knicks? Steve Novak, Landry Fields, and Tyson Chandler. Steve Novak is a shooter, which is perfect for a D'Antoni system. Landry Fields, while his three point shot is off (about 21%), is a hustle guy who provides intangibles. Fields would fit on any team, but especially the Knicks. Chandler (though overpaid) provides the defense the Knicks are deficient in. D'Antoni's teams are score-first, so having a guy who specializes in defense is logical.

The way the Knicks are built makes no sense. They cannot play to the style of their coach. It's like having plumbers do flooring. While they may have rudimentary knowledge, they aren't experts. While the Knicks roster understands how D'Antoni operates, they cannot unlearn their old habits enough to create new habits. The roster isn't 100% to blame for the lack of wins.

The front office is perplexing. Investing about $50 million this year in Chandler, Anthony and Stoudemire (and more for the next couple years)? Surely some of these guys are talents and worthy of their pay. Bringing them all together and trying to get D'Antoni to propel them to success? That's ludicrous. The Knicks need a team, not a cast of stars mixed with whatever else they could find (all due respect to the Knicks roster).

How can the Knicks fix some of the bad moves? Seriously considering trading Anthony, Stoudemire, or even both. Down size in order to build a unit. If D'Antoni is going to coach, don't give him a team like this. Cultivate offense and effort above all. Develop young guys like Shumpert and Jeremy Lin. Don't just throw money at guys you've heard of. Bring together players who fit the system and can contend within it.

The blame doesn't solely lie within the front office. The play has been horrid. If the front office and coaching staff get on the same page, things can be less confusing. They can work hand in hand, building a team that can run. D'Antoni should be questioned, but not axed due to this team. They aren't a team built for him. Hopefully the Knicks can begin building more productively.

What are your impressions of the Knicks?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nick Young Dunks on Koufos Video

Nick Young is all glits and glamour. Not a guy who gets does the little things much, Nick Young is a guy who takes crazy jumpers and makes em. Here, Nick Young decides to get off the perimeter and dunk in semi-transition:

Merci, The Hoop Scene! Nick Young is a constant attempt at a highlight!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mark Cuban on Jay Leno Videos

Mark Cuban is the coolest owner in the NBA. He went on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and discussed partying after winning the title, Lamar Odom in Dallas and more.

Check it out:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Exclusive SNY Coverage Coming

The SNY Invitational is next week! Proud to say that I'll be going there, covering the games and bringing some exclusive coverage to NBAtipoff!

How can you stay up to date with the exclusives? Follow me on Twitter, like our Facebook page, checkout the SNY invitational Facebook page,  subscribe via RSS, and visit daily!

What would you like to hear about from the event?

Here's a promo for the SNY Invitational:

Top Ranked High Schools Highlight the 2012 SNY Invitational

More than $300,000 in Scholarships and Funds Donated to
Tri-State Area Students since the Tournament’s Inception
*  *  *
SNY Invitational Draws Support from Blue Chip Sponsors Including MetroPCS, McDonald’s, Spalding and Gatorade

[New York, January 19, 2012]   SNY – the official television home of the New York Mets, Jets and Big East Conference – today announced that the 2012 SNY Invitational presented by MetroPCS will tip off Friday, January 27th at 6pm and showcase Benjamin Cardozo High School, Thomas Jefferson High School, St. Raymond High School and perennial powerhouse St. Anthony High School – the 2011 SNY Invitational champion.  The consolation and championship games will be played on Saturday, January 28th.  All four games during the two-day tournament will take place at Long Island University’s Wellness, Recreation and Athletic Center.  For ticket information, visit www.snyinvitational.com

During this year’s event, SNY and MetroPCS will make donations totaling more than $70,000 in scholarships and funds to the participating schools as well as Tri-State area students [SNY will present checks totaling $20,000 to the participating schools, while MetroPCS will present $50,000 in scholarships to local students].  Since the inception of the SNY Invitational in 2008, SNY and MetroPCS have made donations totaling more than $300,000 in scholarships and funds to participating schools as well as Tri-State Area students.  

Throughout the two-day tournament, SNY will broadcast every game live in HD.   On-air talent for the event will include former St. John’s guard and current SNY Big East analyst Tarik Turner and play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt.  Brian Custer will again anchor SNY’s coverage of the tournament and Kerith Burke will handle the sideline reporting duties.  SNY will also provide additional exposure to the schools and their students by producing multiple vignettes and human interest pieces about the individual schools and their teams.

“As we enter the SNY Invitational’s fifth year, we couldn’t be more pleased by what the event has accomplished since it was merely an idea back in 2008,” said Steve Raab, President of SNY.  “We are proud to have created an annual event that is a pillar of SNY’s involvement in the community, and honored to have the opportunity to showcase our area’s outstanding talent – both on-and-off the basketball court.”

“The SNY Invitational is the best in-season tournament in the New York Metro area,” said Cardozo Coach Ron Naclerio. “I’m ecstatic Cardozo has been a part of the tournament in the past – is a part of the tournament now – and I look forward and hope to be a part of the tournament in the future.”

“St. Anthony’s benefits from this more than anything else we do,” said St. Anthony’s Coach Bob Hurley.   “I’ve said quite a few times that I’d love to get invited a bunch of times over the years, but I can understand I’m not the only one that’s going to want to play at this tournament.  We’ve been good enough for two years in a row – and we’re thrilled we’re here.”

 “We are honored to play in what is becoming one of the top basketball events of the year,” said St. Raymond’s Coach Oliver Antigua.  “The quality of teams and national exposure is tremendous. We feel like playing in the SNY Invitational means you’re one of the elite teams in NYC. Can't wait to hit the court and showcase our team.”

“I feel really good about this year’s event because it's in Brooklyn.  We have a team that plays hard and competes every night,” said Thomas Jefferson Coach Lawrence Pollard.

Due to the positive impact that the SNY Invitational has had on the community, the tournament has attracted some of the Tri-State Area’s most prominent corporate sponsors – including presenting sponsor MetroPCS.   Other official sponsors include:

►McDonald’s                        ►Spalding                                         ►Nets Basketball

►Vanguard                           ►Time Warner Cable                       ►Gatorade  

►Toyota                                ►PIX11                                              ►Lexus Platinum Dealers  

►New York Daily News        ►New York Mets     ►Citi              ►New York Jets                  

SNY Invitational TV and Match-Up Schedule:  Friday, January 27th
Game 1: Friday, January 27, 2012 at 6pm
St. Raymond Ravens vs. Benjamin Cardozo Judges
Game 2: Friday, January 27, 2012 at 8pm
Thomas Jefferson Orange Wave vs. St. Anthony Friars

SNY Invitational TV and Match-Up Schedule:  Saturday, January 28th
Game 1: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 2pm
Consolation Game      (TBD)
Game 2: Saturday, January 28, 2012 at 4pm
Championship Game  (TBD)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Russell Westbrook Signs $80 Million Extension

Russell Westbrook has signed a five-year, $80 million extension with OKC, per Yahoo!. This shows Russell Westbrook's commitment to the team and OKC's financial commitment to its assets. Everything has come full circle now. Kevin Durant got paid, Kendrick Perkins cashed in too. Russell Westbrook is undoubtedly worth it. He's quick, dynamic on both ends and he's only 23!

Will OKC regret paying Russell Westbrook? No. He's on his way to being an All-Star and even if that's not the case, again he's only 23. Sam Presti and the Thunder organization can continue to evaluate Russell Westbrook. If he looks to be off his game, the Thunder aren't pressed to give him another boat load of money.

Russell Westbrook is built to get another max deal. He really hasn't tapped into his potential yet. Russell Westbrook still lets emotions drain some of the energy he could put into his game. Russell Westbrook without temper tantrums? That's a Russell Westbrook who can focus enough to nail that jump shot. That's a Russell Westbrook who can see a cutting Nick Collison. That, my friends, is when Russell Westbrook can be evaluated.

Now that Russell Westbrook has his financial game intact, what can he change on the court? His emotional poise, jump shot consistency and one-on-one defense.

Russell Westbrook is a young, irritable player. He gets into guys, argues and doesn't like when things go wrong. That's understandable. If I was a young point guard with crazy skills and the "dream" life I might get mad too. What's wrong with a little anger? It zaps away energy that could be used to play! Sure, Russell Westbrook is young, maybe he has tons of energy. Still, at any point when playing ball has it ever made sense to waste energy? That's why you don't see guys playing full court press when down 20 with 10 seconds to go.

Russell Westbrook has become a better jump shooter. He hasn't improved as much as Derrick Rose has, but what he's done is admirable. The key is to keep pushing the envelope. Develop the mid-range game more. Drain all J's taken off the dribble. Russell Westbrook can't be satisfied with where his shot is. He's got to harness the motivation to nail the next ten jumpers he's going to take.

Young, athletic PG's have a tendency to gamble on steals rather than play honest defense. Russell Westbrook is a darn good defender, but not getting caught gambling on D is a constant worry. Thunder coach Scott Brooks and his teammates must continually emphasize sound, honest defense. Not that it's a huge problem with Russell Westbrook, it's just something to monitor.

Congrats to Russell Westbrook! The rich get richer! What should Russell Westbrook buy?

Sixers-Nuggets Would be an Epic NBA Final

The Sixers battled the Nuggets last night in Philly. The Nuggets ended up winning 108-104 in overtime. These two teams got after it. The defense was solid, both teams hustled for loose balls and the offense was exciting. Everything about this game, the atmosphere and the play on the floor, screams playoffs. Since these two squads are in different conferences, they'd be forced to meet in the finals.

How amazing would that be? Ty Lawson going head to head with Jrue Holiday. Elton Brand and Nene banging down in the post. Danillo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala battling at the wing. Evan Turner still finding his way in his sophomore campaign. Two of the best coaches in the league, Doug Collins and George Karl.

Getting away from the players and coaches, the way these teams play makes them winners. The Sixer hustle is second to none. Denver's execution is crisp, George Karl wants to win. These teams aren't going to give up anything easy. They know they'll need to work to get what they want.

Is it too early to imagine this finals matchup? Maybe. Injuries could change the whole dynamic, the teams early solid performance could worsen, or another team could get hot. If the teams have graduates of sports medicine schools helping them, they could heat up. Additionally, the traditional star factor is missing from these two teams. The NBA may not be ecstatic if these two teams met in the finals.

Whether the Nuggets and Sixers meet in the finals or not, they're worth watching. If you like teams that play hard, have some talent and tremendous coaching, they're for you. Unfortunately they don't play again this season! Watch the Nuggets and Sixers, they might surprise you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Heat May Win, The Wrong Way

The Miami Heat beat the Spurs 120-98 last night. If you just look at the score, without watching the game, you might think the Heat did their thing, winning big. Watching the game, it's clear the Heat didn't come out strong, took horrible shots and was lucky they went in come the third quarter. Let's differentiate between executing and hot shooting.

LeBron James was shooting great in the third. He is amazing, we all know it. Is how he played, the shots he took, something the Heat can sustain? Can LeBron consistently take shots he won't regularly make? Is reliance on these awful (but exciting) shots scary?

The Heat cannot sustain play like this. While three point shooting comes and goes, going to the basket can be a constant. Forcing the defense to foul can happen more. Free throws actually going down (Bosh and LeBron went 7-13 from the strike) will empower Miami. Throwing it to Bosh in the mid-post can open the floor up. Doubling of guys like Bosh and LeBron, if they go to the basket, will leave three point shooters open.

LeBron should be an occasional three point shooter at best! LeBron can't make these shots regularly. He relied on them due to finding his stroke, but there's still no reason to take those shots. When the defense starts playing up on Bron, after he makes a jumper or two, he can then use his speed and go to the basket. Last night against the Spurs, he decided to take some jumpers and then more jumpers.

Miami can ride these spouts of brilliance, but it won't take them to a title. A cohesive, responsive and and engaged unit is much more desirable. The Miami Heat have a tendency to come out flat. Their intensity level fluctuates as much as the stock market. That's NOT how you win titles. Whether it's the regular season, pre-season, or playoffs, consistent effort trumps talent.

Unless the Heat realize the implications of their inconsistent play, a title becomes that much harder to attain. Can the Heat play with consistent intensity that isn't reliant upon lucky jump shots? Yeah. If they do that, will they be five times better than they already are? Yep! Word to the Miami Heat: cool it with the lucky J's and play hard in the first AND third quarters.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Video: Danny Green Hits Halfcourt Buzzer Beater

Danny Green has found a home with the Spurs. Danny Green makes an epic shot here!

Yuriy's Take On Al Horford's Shoulder Injury

Hawks Center Al Horford going for a dunk against Orlando
Yuriy will be doing posts on the Hawks. He's tight. Check out his blog!

It now appears that the Atlanta Hawks' all-star center Al Horford is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Many people have a lot of ideas as to what the Hawks should do from this point. There was always the speculation of Atlanta bringing back the hometown superstar, from the Orlando Magic, Dwight Howard, to play in his city. I think the Hawks would have to give up way too much to get him. I like the core group of players we have on our roster now.

Our bench can definitely help us in the long run. The development of rookie Ivan Johnson is going well and Zaza Pachulia, in his seventh year with the Hawks, plays with great intensity every night and his leadership is strong.  Great shooters such as Willie Green and Vladimir Radmanovic can help us in crucial situations in a game. They all helped us beat the Heat and the Bulls all in the same weak.

Filling Horford's role in the line up will be tough but if every player in that locker room shows up to play every single night then we should win a lot of ball games this year and make another huge run in the playoffs. Josh Smith is playing on another level and has greatly improved his shooting. Head coach Larry Drew has this team playing cohesively and with a desire to win.

The Hawks can play with any team in the league if they show up to play every night. At times in the season Atlanta did all that they were supposed to do to win games. Other nights they just walked down the court during turnovers and fast-breaks. Those are easy ways to lose games in this league. So the Hawks have to have that same intensity level every night.

I'm looking forward to what the Hawks do during the rest of the season. I think we will have a great record at home and have the Highlight Factory rocking. We're primed to make a big playoff run and put the NBA on notice. With or without Al Horford, we will make a statement. For Future blogs about the Hawks, please click on the link at the bottom of the article and feel free to leave comments. I look forward to writing about the Hawks and looking forward to a fantastic season. So until then, GO HAWKS!!!-Yuriy A.


Reggie Jackson, Thunder Don't Miss a Beat

Reggie Jackson is proving to be serviceable for the Thunder. After Eric Maynor tore his right ACL, the Thunder looked to have a hole at the backup point. Insert rookie Reggie Jackson. Reggie Jackson hasn't been off the walls, but he's been sound in his limited minutes.

Reggie Jackson is one of the luckiest 24th picks in a while. There's been some nice (number six and four on that list) 24th picks too! Put yourself in Reggie Jackson's shoes. You come to a stacked Thunder team, where there's two PG's ahead of you. Clearly, you're not going to play a bunch. Then, after you get a short training camp and some practice time under your belt, see how the actual games feel, you get a shot. I'd be ecstatic!

Reggie Jackson isn't playing as much as Maynor (four minutes less on average; 11 mins), but his ability to grasp the NBA is way up from where it was. Sure, in practice and observation of games, players can pick up some of the nuances. The way each player puts his own stamp on games won't be established without game action. The rookie mistakes can't happen. Older players (who aren't on your team in practice) can't use their basketball IQ's to take advantage of you.

Reggie Jackson is performing better than expected. He's quick, nice off the dribble, and not a negative. His three point shooting is lacking (21%, here's a breakdown of how's he shooting on different areas of the court), but that's something he's surely working on. No, Reggie Jackson's stats aren't great or anything. Nothing special (3.5 PPG, 1.3 assists a game), but what counts is what you can't see numerically. Reggie Jackson is clearly not a hurtle to the Thunder attack. He makes plays for himself and for others. He runs the ball, he maintains the flow.

For a rookie thrust into a backup position, he's been solid. What more could OKC ask for? Reggie Jackson will continue to get better as he gets more games under his belt. Expect him to work on his shot, increase his assist numbers.

How's Reggie Jackson played in your mind?

Monday, January 16, 2012

NBA Games To Watch, Week 4

The season keeps on rolling. Continuing to give us awesome games to jump into. Is it worth betting on basketball this week? Let's find out! All times are eastern.

Monday at 8 PM, OKC plays Boston. Boston has been brutal and they need to find consistency. Playing against Kendrick Perkins may make it a bit emotional, but that can't stop them from attacking. OKC has been solid, they need to use their young legs to gun at the Celtics every chance they get. Boston will look a bit better in this game, but OKC should prevail.

Tuesday at 7:30 PM, the Spurs battle the Heat. San Antonio has been decent considering injuries. Tony Parker has been fabulous and using their advantage at point will be key. Miami should look to pound it inside and test the old legs of Duncan. Heat win this one, they're too quick and strong defensively.

Wednesday at 10:30 PM, Dallas and the Clippers square off. Jason Kidd against CP3. Reason enough to watch, but the bigs will make it fun too. A matcup to watch is Dirk and Blake Griffin. Who knows this could be a possible playoff matchup! The Clippers don't have a guy that can stop Dirk. Brian Cook is an outside player, but he's not much of a defender and Dirk is more mid-range these days anyway. Could be a long night for the Clipper bigs. Dallas wins.

Thursday at 8 PM, the Lakers look to decrease the Heat. This will be fun. LA needs to go inside early and often. Getting their bigs in foul trouble, or showing their vulnerability will propel the Lakers and open the floor up. Miami will run ferociously as always, but really the key is the defense. Stopping penetration, forcing the Lakers to stay outside will sway victory their way. Heat take this one.

Friday at 10:30 PM, the Clippers look to quiet the Wolves. Rubio vs. CP3 jumps out at me. Griffin against Love does too. Minnesota needs to keep their offense flowing. They get stagnant and look awful when Rubio's not playing. Clippers win due to more talent.

Saturday at 7:30 PM, Philly meets Miami. Philly looks legit this season, this is another chance to prove their legitimacy. Miami needs to show they're better than the Sixers. Jrue Holiday could be a huge advantage for Philadelphia. Miami can't really guard him and he's gotta start the Sixer attack. Miami should look to get Elton Brand working on defense. Feeding Bosh, assuming Brand guards him, will be the way. Philly steals this game.

Sunday at 9:30 PM, Indiana looks to out act Los Angeles. Indiana always plays winning teams tough. The Lakers need to stop the Pacer offense. Getting Darren Collison in foul trouble would help. Despite high scoring and shooting from Kobe, Pacers will win.

What games are you planning to watch this week? NBA betting? Can't wait for another week of the best basketball in the world!

Darren Collison: Underrated, Dynamic PG

Darren Collison is the most underrated point guard in the NBA. He's lightning quick, plays team ball and has improved his shooting. Collison gets the Pacer team into their offense efficiently. Many people don't talk about Collison, but why?

His stats aren't off the charts. Looking at the basic numbers, he just looks like an average player. What Collison does is tough to show with numbers. The way he runs the ball up even after made baskets, how do you show that? He'd be near the top of that stat.

The place where stats can tell a story is outside shooting. He's shooting 54% on above the break three's and 40% on corner three's. His corner three is actually the same as last season, but his above the break triples are up 22%!

This bodes well for Collison. The defense must recognize he can shoot. This creates an opportunity for penetration, gives Collison leverage. Additionally, it's less likely teams will leave Collison to double Roy Hibbert, or Danny Granger. The defense must remain honest and the Pacer attack doubles in effectiveness.

What will it take for more people to see the talent Collison has? Watch him play other elite PG's. Watching him play against Rondo, it's wildly clear this kid is a star. Maybe he's not an all-star, a franchise saver, or an MVP candidate, but this guy is a piece to a winning puzzle. Not a role player, but a guy who does a little more than what's asked of him.

He fits perfectly into this Pacers team. Not a Derrick Rose, Deron Williams or John Wall. Collison is not going to demand a huge payday (when it's time), so he's a great PG for the price. Building a team with lower cost, quality players is something the Pacers specialize in. Collison is the definition of how to get nice players on a budget. Let's hope he doesn't get dramatically overpaid in a few years!

If you haven't recognized Darren Collison is a great PG, open your eyes. Watch the Pacers battle the Celtics, Nets, or any team with an "elite" PG. You'll see that not only can Darren Collison matchup with the best guards in the game, sometimes he can trump the best guards in the league. Darren Collison, you've got a fan in me!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Video: Monta Ellis Throws It Down

Monta Ellis is a ferocious scorer. Watch him throw down on Tyrus Thomas. This is barely G rated:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Steve Blake Out 3-4 Weeks

Steve Blake has a costochaondral fracture (fracture of the cartilage that connects the rib to the sternum) and he'll miss three to four weeks. This is a tough blow to the Lakers bench and flow. Blake was shooting decently this season, about 51% eFG and the Lakers are already weak at the point. How will the Lakers rotation change without Blake?

Derek Fisher and rookie Andrew Goudelock need to fill the 24 and a half minutes a game Blake was averaging. Fisher is a 37 year old vet, who's pushing it as is. Goudelock is a shooter who wants more minutes. Goudelock has talent, now he'll get a shot at creeping into the rotation. It's put up or shut up time for Goudelock!

Fisher may need to play a little more while Blake recovers. This will test his conditioning and stamina. Guarding quick guards is always a problem for Fish, hopefully increased offense (more three's) can help compensate. Kobe Bryant may take on more ball handling responsibilities. Can't help his injured wrist, but without a true backup PG (Goudelock seems like a two, or a scoring PG), it'll be necessary.

The flow of the Lakers rotation really takes a hit. Blake was coming in, hitting outside shots and moving the ball around. If Blake loses the rhythm he had going, that will compound the time without him, it'll be as if he still wasn't playing! Don't know how he can deal with this injury, but hopefully he can still workout some.

Can the Lakers manage this time without Blake effectively? How crucial is it that Blake returns with the same rhythm he's had this season?

Video: Derrick Rose Flips it Home

Derrick Rose isn't half bad, eh? Yeah, dude can kinda hoop. Seen better at my local YMCA.

As if! Rose is consistently a thrill and here's another play of his to remember:

Thanks to The Hoop Scene!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Josh Selby Shows Potential in Memphis

Josh Selby could be a legit PG in the NBA. He's got a ton of work to do, but he's dynamic and could easily have a great career. Selby is quick and he just needs to improve a couple parts of his game. Defense, passing and outside shooting are what he needs to prove. Selby's head needs to be on straight, he's had off the court issues in the past.

Watching Selby drive and score nine on the Knicks last night intrigued me. This guy is quick and he can get to the rim when he wants. His talent is undeniable. Can Selby become a real NBA player?

Selby is in the NBA, but he doesn't fit into the mold of an NBA player yet. Selby needs to show he can be a catalyst to a team effort. He's too single minded. This isn't high school anymore, Josh! If he can see that he needs to penetrate in and move the ball around, he can become more useful. Increase the unselfishness. Look to be a passing guard.

Maybe Selby isn't a passing guard today. He can take pages out of other great guards books and pick it up. Think Nash, Rubio, or Rondo. Being a passing guard doesn't mean you relinquish your scoring completely. Selby can scale back his scoring some to up his assist game, then bring some scoring in and round his game out.

Defense and hustle are things that come from wanting to win. He's gotta want to take the ball from the opponent, embarrass them at all opportunities. Iman Shumpert showed what I'm talking about last night, when he had to steals in a row. Selby just needs to show more engagement and hunger on D.

Outside shooting is something all guards need. Have it and it forces the defense to respect it, increasing the chance of blowing by them to the bucket. Don't have it and the D plays back, confusing you and limiting your options. Selby is a scorer and can probably hit from the perimeter when hot, but he needs to show his shot should be respected. Make the defense play close enough to him so he can penetrate, or shake them off the dribble.

Josh Selby reminds me of Jeff Teague. The Grizzlies traded Fran Vasquez, so either Jeremy Pargo or Selby will pickup the backup role. Selby has the tools, he just needs to become adept at fixing problems. Believe in him, despite off the court problems. Selby may surprise you with how he develops.

Video: Iman Shumpert Finishes Alley Oop

Iman Shumpert sure knows how to chuck up a ton of shots. Missed quite a few too! The bright spot of his 5-20 shooting night is this alley he threw down:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Video: Lakers Make In Game Adjustment

Atlanta Hawks Injuries Piling Up

Atlanta Hawk basketball is suffering from injury. Last night against the Pacers, Al Horford went down with a left shoulder strain. He'll be reevaluated today, but adding him to the list of injuries sucks. Horford, Marvin Williams and Trac McGrady are hurt and Kirk Hinrich still hasn't played this season. How can the Hawks keep soaring despite these injuries? What moves can be made to help the Hawks deal with these injuries?

The Hawks wing play needs to be perfect. Joe Johnson, Jeff Teague and crew need to bring it. They can't get complacent, hold the ball too much, or not sprint back on D. They need to give everyone a touch on offense, really be engaged and mix it up defensively. With Horford questionable, there's less offense on the Hawks frontline. Wing players will pickup the slack. Jeff Teague's aggression on offense should pickup. Teague should really look to finish at the basket in semi-transition.

Role players will be key to keeping the team afloat. Ivan Johnson, Willie Green, Jannero Pargo and crew need to bring their best games. They'll be depended on more. Now's their time to prove they can play and take on bigger responsibilities. Playing great now could lead to an expanded role the rest of the season. That's the incentive for them to get after it.

Atlanta has long been a team with a weak frontline. Al Horford's injury further brings that out. They don't have a banging type of big man and Horford is an undersized big to begin with. Horford is nice on both ends, but adding a banger and a big that can score would help. If a guy like Carl Landry or Chuck Hayes were available, they could fit those roles. The Hawks may wanna go after bigs with more size, but the same skill set.

Can the Hawks fight through this stretch? Yeah, luckily their next three games are against mediocre competition (Charlotte, Minnesota, Toronto). They can compete with teams like that, but the sooner their guys return, the sooner we can expect the Atlanta Hawks to take flight!

Larry Brown Wants to Coach Again

Larry Brown has the itch to return to the bench. CSN Chicago interviewed (great interview, talks about a few different topics) him and he expressed how much he wants to coach. "I want to get back badly. I just don't know. The direction the NBA's going, it seems like they just want to get young ex-players and if you look around the league, there's not a lot of older coaches anymore. 'Pop' [Gregg Popovich] and maybe [Rick] Adelman, but most of these guys are younger, so I don't know if I fit that mold, but I still believe that I have something to offer and I was disappointed the way Charlotte ended. We go to the playoffs and then, 14 games later, I'm fired."

Brown's idea of a mold can be thrown out the window. While former players are getting into coaching, that's not the only type of guy that can coach. Mike Brown may be young, but he never played in the league. Larry Brown's experience supersedes any desire for a coach that played in the pros.

What problem does Brown actually run into? Brown's style of play is outdated! NBA teams don't wanna walk the ball up all the time and run methodical offense. That's the way Brown's teams play and it doesn't hit what the NBA has become. The NBA is a guard focused game and a game which is ever increasing in pace. Can Brown still coach with the same principles he's had in the past? Sure, but unless his team is talented (like the Pistons where), it's going to be UGLY.

Remember his Bobcats team? Yeah. They were low on talent to begin with, but Brown played a style played a style as attractive as an anorexic model. If Brown wants to coach again, he should lean up on his offensive reigns. Especially if his team is young and athletic! If that's the team he's given, how could you tell them to walk the ball up in semi-transition? Madness!

Imagine Brown gets the Wizards job. John Wall, one of the quickest guards in the world, would probably be told to slow it down. Let's hope Brown realizes the league is predicated on running and shooting three's. That's the nuance Brown will need to understand.

Larry Brown might get a shot to coach again soon. Cool. Coach Brown, see that the NBA isn't a slow paced snail race, it's now a horse race! Dictate the game with a quicker pace. If Brown incorporates that, he could add a new greatness to an already sparkling resume.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Video: Chandler Parsons Putback Dunk

Chandler Parsons knows how to slam. He's a solid rook for the Rockets! Check out the dunk:

Thanks, @RedNinetyFour (for earlier vid) and Clutch Fans!

Dwayne Wade Embraces Nutrition, About Time!

Dwayne Wade is in his ninth NBA season and he's now gotten behind nutrition. The Sun Sentinel reports that a campaign with Gatorade about nutrition has spawned a change in heart. "Now I'm starting to do stuff like eating salads. I never ate salads," he said regretfully, highlighting a poor eating history. "It's painful, but now I'm eating salads with all my meals."

Applaud Wade for eating more healthy food. Not only will it help Wade perform on the court, it will boost his vitality. Glad Wade has smartened up on this subject, but how did it take this long? Wade is in his ninth year and he's had a high profile for a while. Even though Wade correctly points out he was stubborn when younger, how could someone not get through to him?

Athletes must understand the importance of nutrition earlier and earlier. The sooner better things go down the hatch, the more heroics are possible on the court. The focus on better foods should be a collective message in all levels of basketball. I've tried out for a high school team before and all they really said was don't eat McDonald's.

While abstaining from McDonald's is a noble feat, it's certainly not a step in a healthy direction. Trainers, nutritionists, even coaches should tell guys about the benefits of munching on plants. Hopefully that idea (just eating more plants), will become more widely internalized.

Back to Wade, his childhood conditioned him strongly. In the Sentinel article, he talks about just eating and drinking what he could get back in high school. I get that, based on his situation that makes sense. Now he's wised up and hopes to tell other young guns what he's learned.

Keep the spinach packed high, Dwayne! You'll be happy you did.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Video: Gerald Henderson Dunks on Carmelo

Gerald Henderson would like to announce lift off. Appears that Carmelo Anthony (another word for turbulence) is in the way. Flight and dunking must persist:

Someone should send Carmelo the poster. Thanks, Slam!

Monday, January 09, 2012

NBA Games To Watch, Week 3

The great season keeps on rolling. This week's NBA games aren't as exciting but there will be something worth looking at undoubtedly. Here's a list of games to watch each day, all times are eastern.

Monday at 7pm, the Pacers and Sixers square off. Two nice young teams, both need to prove themselves. Indiana should try and win big in this game, show they are true contenders. Philly will look to battle and keep it as close as they can, hoping to win in the end.

Tuesday at 10pm, CP3 and the Clippers will face Lamarcus Aldridge's Blazers. Portland has been the surprise team so far. Can they sustain it? Their talent level and resilience suggest so. The Clippers have a terrible coach but great talent and that will keep them close in this game.

Wednesday at 8pm, the Mavs battle the Celtics. Dallas really needs to play well. It's been tough for them early on but maybe visiting President Obama will give them a spark. Jason Kidd's injury can't help though. Boston looks like a better team going into the game. Rondo's aggression coupled with  terrific bench play have fueled the C's. This should be a close grind it out game.

Thursday at 10:30pm, Golden State looks to dismantle the Magic. The Magic have looked almost unwatchable but playing against Golden State might open their offense. Golden State has been decent under Mark Jackson but they haven't proved anything yet. This game is all about which team can find any consistency. Do that and you win the game.

Friday at 8pm, Chicago tangles with the Celtics. This game will be fun. Rondo vs. Rose will really test both PGs. The play of Rondo and Rose will dictate who wins the game. Other matchups like Deng and Pierce will be key but the guards set the tone. If Chicago can run the ball it's highly likely they'll be victorious. The Celtics should look to keep the game at a half court pace.

Saturday at 10:30pm, it's a battle for Los Angeles; the Clippers play the Lakers. Which LA team is better? They played in the preseason but it didn't matter. The Lakers have been nice so far and the Clippers are looking to find their continuity. What decides this game? The role players, the guys that aren't expected to have big games, will make the difference.

Sunday at 9pm, the Suns look to blaze the Spurs. This game won't be that great but there's only three games on! Anyway, Steve Nash vs. Tony Parker is always fun. Should be a close game due to the Spurs being Manu-less. Point guard battle decides the game.

Watch NBA basketball this week!

Jerry Sloan Open to Coaching Return?

Jerry Sloan has had a change of heart on new coaching offers. Per SI.com's Sam Amick, Sloan says he's not sure what the right situation is, nor is he sure how he'd respond to offers. Sloan has gotten to relax during his time off, working out and spending time with his family. Now that he's done that, he feels revitalized and not so closed to new opportunities.

The article mentioned a chance for him to lead the Kings. The Kings have Keith Smart leading the helm, but there's a team option for next season. That's still a possibility, after this season. Sloan would be a nice fit in Sacramento. He could straighten DeMarcus Cousins out and his discipline is perfect for a young team. We'll wait to see if that could become a reality this summer.

In the meantime, will teams come calling now? The Knicks and Wizards are two teams that could have coaching vacancy's soon. Teams would be wise to touch base with Sloan, see how he feels about the particular teams situation. Based on what he's said, it's tough to say how he'd feel about anything. Just cause he's not saying he won't coach doesn't mean he will!

Who knows? Time will tell if Sloan will return to the bench. I sure hope he does. Seeing him build a young team into a winner would be fun. Hearing Sloan do interviews would be awesome. Teams that will build the right teams for Sloan would be great. Sloan is a winner and he creates the culture of a winning organization. When the time is right, Sloan should return.

Should Jerry Sloan return? What team would be a nice fit for him?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Vince Carter Makes a New Highlight

Vince Carter still has it? Sort of. He's proving something early this season. Last night he dunked on Emeka Okafor, it was epic:

Thanks to The Hoop Scene for the video!

Check out this photo too:


Video: Barkley Does TNT, SNL-Style

Hilarious, love the way he does Shaq. Real chill, have some laughs:

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Video: Rudy Gay Dunks on the Jazz

Awesome slam! Thanks, Hoop Mixtape!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Video: Dirk Nowitzki Reads Oops! I Did It Again!

Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavs have a seriously funny vid here. Check it out, hopefully more things like it are coming:

Gracias, It's Always Sunny in Detroit!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Flip Saunders: Should He Stay or Should He Go?

Flip Saunders has led the Wizards to an 0-6 start to the season. While losses are OK, the way you lose can make a difference in the lasting view of a team. Losing by an average of 13 points a game, the effort is lacking. While Washington has solid, young talent, it's as if they're destined to lose and have no pride.

ProBasketballTalk reports that Wiz owner Ted Leonsis expected this, says they're growing. Does growth look this demoralizing? The Washington Wizards expressions are as flat as a line drive jumper. This team is practically unwatchable! Growth isn't really happening.

How is a team growing with the margin of defeat increasing? Before last nights 18 point loss to Orlando, they loss the two previous games by eight. Ted Leonsis needs to define what growth is!

This Wizards team is nice, despite this dreadful start. JaVale McGee is a gem, Blatche is a skillful (though occasionally disruptive) big and of course Wall is a cornerstone. What can get them to look like they're INTO games? What words will inspire them to get after it? What happened to effort? This Wizards team looks to be all about complacency.

Someone needs to be held accountable for this situation. Coaches aren't always at fault, but they usually take the blame. Just throwing it out there! Flip, or the players, or somebody, needs to be held accountable. If true growth and change are desired, something must change quickly.

Flip Saunders is a solid coach, but even the greatest get canned. It's not so much the firing that needs to happen, it's the accountability which isn't present. Maybe Leonsis is right and this is just the process to improvement. My only qualm is why must it be this painful to watch! Hopefully it gets better. Hopefully the Wizards get a win under their belts!

What do you think about the Wizards start to the season? Should Flip Saunders stay or should he go?

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Video: Barbara Walters NBA Concept

Barbara Walters as an NBA concept? NO. That doesn't make any sense!

Wait, wait! Watch this video for some insight:

So, now when any guy is going for 20/20, say he's going for a Barbara Walters! Love it.

Yay or ney to the Barbara Walters idea?

Video courtesy of NBA TV.

Video: Courtney Lee Putback Dunk

Courtney Lee jumps on the trampoline and slams home a miss!

Video from ClutchFans.

Video: Charles Barkley SNL Promo

Charles Barkley is hosting Saturday Night Live this week! Expect some awesome comedy from Sir Charles. DVR is recording that show for me!

Video: Wisconsin Loses on Controversial Call

What a crazy finish to a game! Watch this video, Ryan Evans banks home a three pointer that you'd think would send this game into overtime. Wisconsin was down three to Michigan State and after picking up the offensive board, Evans nailed in a three that didn't count.

This isn't your normal after the buzzer shot that was close though. The shot clocks were out of sync! The shot clock hits triple zero's before another clock does! Talk about something the NCAA needs to clean up!

Hopefully you're not a Wisconsin fan! Either way, check it out:

Thanks, guyism!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Manu Ginobili Breaks Hand: Jeff Garcia Reacts

Manu Ginobili fractured the fifth metacarpal in his left hand and he's expected to be out four to six weeks. I got Project Spurs blogger and friend of mine Jeff Garcia to sound off on this. Be sure to stay close to Project Spurs for updates on this and all other things Spurs.

NBAtipoff: What was your initial reaction to Manu's injury?

Jeff: At first I thought he just got a "stinger" but when I saw him double-over, clutching his hand I knew something was wrong. Now that it is a broken hand, I saw the Spurs chances of getting a top-4 seed weaken and another run at title number five in doubt.

NBAtipoff: Does this ruin another title run for the Spurs? Or does it give younger guys a chance to grind through this shortened season? Why or why not?

Jeff: Ruin? No. Puts it in doubt, yes. Let's face it, Manu IS the Spurs. As much as others might say the team still revolves around Duncan, the truth is the Spurs go as far as Manu goes. Case in point, last year's playoff debacle. When Manu was in the game versus the Grizzlies, they won or fought hard. Without him and the Spurs got bounced. Sure it does give the Spurs young guns more run but it's not the same as a healthy Manu. James Anderson will likely get the start while guard Gary Neal will be rushed back from playing in the D-League (assigned to rehab from surgery). Do not be surprised if the Spurs look to the free agent pool for some player to use as a stop gap.

NBAtipoff: What's the positive to take out from this?

Jeff: That it was early in the season, this is a team with Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan (and with those three in the fold, San Antonio should never be counted out) and the Spurs, as a whole, are younger which will help their development which could be beneficial long term.

NBAtipoff: Are you down and out as a fan, or just disappointed the season won't be near as entertaining? Why?

Jeff: I am not "down" more eager to see how this team faces a huge loss. Yes, it does mean the Spurs will drop games without number 20 on the court, but this will be a chance for Duncan to show he has something left in the tank, to see if Parker can up his scoring, and how Popovich will rally the troops.

NBAtipoff: Should the Spurs make a trade or signing to compensate for Ginobili's absence? Why or why not?

Jeff: Right now they have James Anderson, Gary Neal, and Danny Green (who can play the two or three) and that won't be nearly enough to make up for the loss of Manu. There isn't much to pick from but a guy like Acie Law, or Garrett Temple (playing overseas in Italy) who played with the Spurs before might be an option.

As far as a trade, no. Pop and the team will ride out the storm and won't trade. The Spurs are a team that really haven't made many in-season trades in recent history.

Thanks Jeff! Like the Spurs? Project Spurs is the place to go!

Monday, January 02, 2012

Video: Russell Westbrook Throws the Hammer Down

Russell Westbrook is more athletic most PG's and he shows you why with this dunk:

Merci, @dailythunder!

Video: Flip Saunders Ejected Quickly

Flip Saunders didn't coach long on this night. Less than two minutes into a game against the Celtics, he was tossed. Check the vid to see hilarious outrage:

Thanks, @jose3030!

NBA Games To Watch, Week Two

What a wonderful start to the season! The story-lines are everywhere, the basketball is competitive and there's much more to be played. Let's look at what games to watch this week, all times are Eastern.

Monday at 8:30, OKC vs. Dallas. Dallas has started off slow, but this is another chance for them to redeem themselves. Remember that great finish in the last game these two played? Yeah, that's all the reason I need to catch this one.

Tuesday at 8, Atlanta and Chicago square off. Atlanta and Chicago need to show where they stand in the East. Chicago looks to be a team that could be contenders, with the addition of Rip Hamilton and another year of their core together. It's unclear if they're truly a contending team. The playoffs will prove whether they are or not, but games like these, against possible other contenders, are early indicators.

Atlanta is a team that's talented, but hasn't stuck with it mentally and physically to go deep in the playoffs. This is a chance for them to showcase that they can beat a tough team in the Bulls. This team really needs to work on execution and leadership. It's not about proving they're more athletic or talented, it's about showing that they have a game plan and can stick to it.

Wednesday at 7:30, Miami tangles with Indiana. This could be a blowout if Indiana comes out flat, but they played great teams well last season. The Pacers REALLY need to improve offensively, so their movement on that side of the ball will be something to watch. For Miami, they just need to show up ready to play and they should be able to take care of business.

Thursday at 10:30, the Lakers and Blazers go at it. This is a heated rivalry. Despite the Blazers being shattered due to constant injury and roster changes, there's just something different about playing the Lakers. It's physical, they don't like each other! Let's hope this game proves to be close and similar to past battles between these two.

Friday at 8:00, the Magic look to attack the Bulls. Is Orlando a team that can contend in the East? That's what they wanna show against the Bulls. Chicago wants to take this team out easily and appear poised for a run to a ring.

Saturday at 7:00, the Hawks look to fly over the Bulls. Atlanta's keys are to stop D. Rose and shoot well against the Bull defense. Chicago needs to keep Atlanta in the halfcourt and try and run on offense.

Sunday at 9:30, the Lakers and Grizzlies battle it out. The Grizzlies have a tendency to beat the Lakers, Kobe usually not playing great against them. The Lakers need to defend them tight and focus on getting the ball in the post and tiring out the Memphis bigs. Memphis should look to run the older Lakers and have a balanced inside-out attack.

Here's to another great week of NBA basketball!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Kobe Reaches 28,000 Points

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Congrats to Kobe! 28,000 points, wow! Great accomplishment. He reached the number tonight against the Denver Nuggets. What put him over the top? He hit a free throw!

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Mavericks to Sign Yi, but why?

The Mavericks have agreed to terms on a one year deal with Yi Jianlian. Yi will rehab from a knee injury by playing with the Mavs D-League affilate, the Texas Legends. Why did the Mavs acquire the Chinese PF?

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After the CP3 trade fell through, the Mavericks gave the Lakers a trade exception for Lamar Odom. Odom's a 6 ft 10 (same height as Jianlian) PF who does a bit of everything on the floor. What logic are the Mavs using in picking Yi him up?

Yi's only 24 years old, hasn't really shown signs of growth in the pros and only has a one year deal. Let's see if he can rehab, comeback and be on the bench if we need him, the Mavericks are thinking. It's a low risk move, but still one that I question.

There can't be much of a role for him on this team. Dirk is gonna play a ton of minutes, Odom will too and Yi is a perimeter shooter, not someone who can play the center spot. The Mavs lost Tyson Chandler this off-season, they needed to sign a tougher big man. Jianlian has shown signs as a perimeter big. He can definitely shot, but Dallas has guys like that already!

Surely people out there are happy with this move. Jianlian can come in, have no real pressure to perform, get healthy and continue developing his game. Seeing as it's only a one year contract, let's see what happens. Del Harris, current coach of the Legends' is delighted to coach Jianlian, "He runs like a gazelle so he's good for a flow game. I'm a big fan of his."

Good luck Yi. Get healthy, play yourself into shape in the minors and continue to improve. Who knows, Yi's only 24! What do you think about the Yi signing?

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